Summary: Exposition of 1 Cor 6:1-8 regarding the brethren who are suing one another, and the kingdom perspective needed to remedy the situation
Text: 1 Cor 6:1-8, Title: Stupid Losers, Date/Place: NRBC, 9/26/10, AM
A. Opening illustration: fictitious marital spat: he just made the comment that she should be more careful when she uses the lawnmower, and she reacts and says that he is never careful with anything except what is important to him, and he is only concerned with himself and not her. Doors slam, and all day long the pot is stewing, pressure is building, and both are thinking of all the reasons that they are right, and what they are gonna say when they get home; watch out! Then it all breaks loose when they get home, tempers flare, words exchanged, names called, accusations made, examples given; and finally she piles up the guilt and examples of his selfishness not that he would repent, but that his anger seethes, and he leaves to cool off before this really gets out of hand. She won! She was righter! Victory is sweet! Or is it?
B. Background to passage: First item up for bids was division in the church. Next item up for bids is man sleeping with his step mom. Third item up for bids is a brother suing another brother!
C. Main thought: in the text we will see three needs for an eternal perspective on severe conflict
A. Significance of Things (v. 1-3)
1. If you thought Paul was harsh or indignant with the Corinthians in dealing with division/carnality or with sexual immorality in the camp, he is just getting started. In 5, he tells them he is not trying to shame them, here he tells them that he is. Paul transitions from the last verse in chapter five about judging those who are outside, and deals with going outside for inside problems. The English doesn’t really convey his outrage. He says, “How dare you!” One believer had a grievance with another, and they were taking it to the secular courts. Later in the text, we can infer that this may have been a leader in the church and regarding some sort of property or business dispute. And so Paul gives his first reason and argument for that reason why they shouldn’t do what they are doing the way they are doing it—in view of kingdom concerns, this is a small matter. Two ways he says saints will judge much bigger things, so shouldn’t we be able to handle the smaller; saint will judge heavenly things, so shouldn’t we be able to judge earthly things. Relative to eternal treasures, this is an insignificant thing to argue over, let alone to sue over.
3. Illustration: King Henry IV of France once asked the Duke of Alva if he had observed the great eclipse of the sun that had recently occurred. "No," said the duke, "I have so much to do on the earth that I have no leisure to look up into heaven." Commenting on this, Thomas Brooks said, "It is sad to think how heart and time are so taken up with earthly things that we have no leisure to look to Christ and the things that belong to everlasting peace." We are early for the game but late to the worship (see below)
4. Where is our holy outrage against earthly mindedness? Against materialism? Against self-centeredness? As the culture seeps into our hearts, we begin to think like the world, then act like it. And that culture comes through TV, music, internet, peers, advertising, etc. We think that it is of utmost importance that we are well off, drive the nicest cars, have the newest, most in style clothes and shoes, maintain a supermodel figure, have the newest gadgets and toys, eat the best foods, achieve the greatest accomplishments in education, athletics, and occupations, and succeed in all our relationships. And the world says that if you don’t have these things, sacrifice whatever you need to get them. Therefore we have massive debt, bankruptcy, plastic surgery, diets galore, titles, promotions, degrees, depression, mid-life crises, suicide, despondency, addictions. All because we are pursing and in love with the things of this world. When the bible teaches that we are to focus, strive for, love things of another world, for these other things will not matter in 100 years; they are temporary. We must learn to be discerning about how we invest our passions, time, and resources to achieve. In all of these truths, the main application is toward the church as a whole for allowing this kind of thing to go on, rather than putting an end to it. The body as a whole is responsible for holding members accountable for their actions.
B. Sufficiency of the Church (v. 4-5)
1. Next Paul, assuming rightfully, that there would be disputes among them that the individuals in the suit couldn’t work out, asks them to think about what they are doing. They are getting someone with no standing (no esteem) in the church, to make judgments about the business of the children of God. These pagan judges had no regard for Christ or the kingdom, no concern about the bride, and did things the way that the world does things. Sound familiar? Paul told the Corinthians back in ch. 3 that they were acting like “mere men” by being so carnal. Paul says the standard of settling disputes in the church should be different than that of the world. Then he chides them by asking if there wasn’t a “wise” man who can help these two brothers? Ironic how they were all about wisdom in the first four chapters, huh? His point is not only that we shouldn’t look to unbeliever to settle disputes, but that the body of Christ has been given sufficient resources in her members, use them. Christ is sufficient to manage His church. And His word has been given us to guide us.